Who knew that Caroline Quentin could achieve (almost) the splits, while strumming a ukulele? Or that that Richard Bean and Chris Oliver – who a decade ago created the National Theatre’s world-conquering One Man, Two Guvnors – would for their next 18c update, Jack Absolute Flies Again, attempt a mashup of Sheridan’s classic frothy Restoration romcom The Rivals, and set it in a WW2 RAF base?
‘Entertaining comedy with pathos’: JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN – National Theatre
“What will happen in England after we have won this war? Bunting! Bunting everywhere!” Richard Bean and Oliver Chris’ new play Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre takes R.B. Sheridan’s 1775 farce The Rivals and updates the setting to a Sussex country house in The Battle of Britain. The romantic pursuits, mistaken identities and malapropisms from The Rivals are combined with Bean’s typically bawdy sense of humour, some impressive aerial dogfights and a dose of WWII patriotism. The result is an entertaining, albeit safe and slightly too long, comedy with pathos.
‘Utterly joyous’: JACK ABSOLUTE FLIES AGAIN – National Theatre
Delayed by Covid for over two years, Jack Absolute Flies Again finally lands on the Olivier stage when we have never needed Richard Bean and Oliver Chris’ goofy and hilarious romp more. An adaptation of Sheridan’s The Rivals relocated to a 1940s air base on a Sussex estate, there is a care in the construction of the play and a determination that everyone watching should have a good time that speaks to a wider need for lighter fare.
‘Evokes the heat & intensity of the setting’: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF – Curve Leicester & Touring
Anthony Almeida has created not only a highly entertaining piece of theatre in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof at Curve Leicester, but a tableau of family life that can still resonate with modern audiences.
CD Review: Company 2018 London cast / Follies 2018 National Theatre cast
We should celebrate the fact that within the space of a year London has played host to stagings of not one but two Sondheim masterpieces that have all but redefined them in theatrical terms: Company and Follies.
‘As perfect a piece of musical theatre as I could hope for’: FOLLIES – National Theatre
Just a quickie for this revisit to Follies, which remains as perfect a piece of musical theatre as I could hope for. I loved it then but I really love it now.
‘A simply outstanding piece of musical theatre’: FOLLIES – National Theatre
The Olivier Award-winning Follies returns to the National Theatre in richer, deeper, more resonant form and just blows me away.
‘Scoring top marks across the board’: FOLLIES – National Theatre ★★★★★
Eighteen months on and with a couple of well-placed casting changes Stephen Sondheim’s Follies returns to the National Theatre with the excellence of this devastating musical a breath of fresh air amidst a slew of disappointing recent openings in the capital.
‘By turns cynical, touching & with a rogue twinkle in its eye’: ALLELUJAH! – Bridge Theatre
By turns cynical, touching and with a rogue twinkle in its eye, Allelujah! doesn’t set the stage alight, and as both a black comedy and state-of-the-nation play it feels underpowered, but Bennett remains a bastion of not just British playwriting, but Britain as a whole.
Could Allelujah!’s transfer from stage to screen change our perception of the production?
Screening Alan Bennett’s Allelujah! on the big screen may well alter the viewer’s perspective, placing it within the tradition of television and film drama that lends itself to the cliffhanger-based six-part series that Bennett’s broad and episodic approach calls upon.
‘There are zero complaints about the acting, it’s the play that is on life support’: ALLELUJAH! – Bridge Theatre
In some ways, Allelujah! is perfectly symptomatic of the problem I have with the Bridge Theatre. Does London really need any new theatres, no matter how much people think they want interval madeleines?
‘Extremely funny & has something very urgent to say’: ALLELUJAH! – Bridge Theatre
Allelujah! is not a masterpiece, mainly because most of the characters are underdeveloped and there is too much going on, but it is extremely funny and it has something very urgent to say, and says it without compromise.
‘The crafty old bugger still has a gnarled finger on the nation’s trickier pulse points’: ALLELUJAH! – Bridge Theatre ★★★★
Alan Bennett has perhaps by chance hit two topical news hot-potatoes – barely a week old – even while deliberately tackling more obvious fave targets like NHS cuts and the Thatcher legacy.
NEWS: National Theatre season features UK premiere of Anaïs Mitchell musical & Patrick Marber version of Exit the King
Details have been released of the National Theatre’s season from May to September 2018. Highlights include the Uk premiere of Hadestown, with music, lyrics and book by Anaïs Mitchell, the return of Follies and Patrick Marber’s new version of Eugène Ionesco’s Exit the King.
My first Follies… in fact, my first Sondheim
Of course, Follies is much more than a spectacle. It is simultaneously a nostalgic tribute to the showgirl era and, a show written to consign it to history.
REVIEW ROUND-UP: Follies at the National Theatre
The National Theatre brings Stephen Sondheim’s classic Broadway musical to its stage for the first time, directed by Dominic Cooke. Here’s Love London Love Culture’s round up of the reviews so far.
FOLLIES – National Theatre ★★★★★
It’s been a while since the National Theatre last revived a great song and dance extravaganza and a Sondheim one at that. But with Dominic Cooke’s production of Follies, the NT’s reputation as one of the nation’s finest creators of musical theatre is restored.
FOLLIES – National Theatre
We should never be afraid to attack sacred cows. And when sacred cows are also cash cows, we should never be afraid to kick them in their milky udders
Critical consensus: National’s Follies revival is a sumptuous ensemble hit
What do you need to know about Dominic Cooke’s revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the National Theatre? It’s a great big, sumptuous, stellar hit.
FOLLIES – National Theatre
Using the original book with just a smattering of small changes, this is musical theatre close to its most luxurious, and a bittersweetly life-affirming thrill to watch.
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